UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) head Mami Mizutori has been an advocate of a complete strategy to cope with disasters, backed by worldwide collaboration. She explains this strategy to Pradeep Thakur within the context of the Covid-19 outbreak:

The international consideration on Covid-19 is unprecedented. Is this as a result of the wealthy are extra affected?

Like many illness outbreaks, Covid-19 doesn’t distinguish between wealthy and poor. There is worldwide consideration on it as a result of it threatens each nation no matter improvement standing. Disasters have an effect on all, nevertheless disasters don’t have an effect on everybody equally and within the case of Covid-19, it’s also true. This is why, developed international locations with extra assets obtainable to reply to the outbreak might want to attend at the beginning to the protection and well-being of their very own residents, however there additionally should be worldwide assist to low- and middle-income international locations which might be struggling to deal with the outbreak. Pandemics don’t recognise borders so a united worldwide response is important below the management and steering of the World Health Organization.

We have seen Ebola and hen flu. How totally different is Covid-19?

Covid-19 shouldn’t be an epidemic confined to some international locations. It has been declared a pandemic by the WHO. There is a vital distinction. The listing of nations reporting outbreaks is rising day by day. There is not any nation on Earth that may declare to be immune from the menace. Thousands have died and plenty of extra hundreds are preventing for his or her lives in hospitals around the globe. We are nonetheless within the early levels of the pandemic. It is pressing that international locations which have but to expertise the complete brunt of the illness ought to observe and be taught from those that have been most impacted, notably China, Italy, Iran and the Republic of Korea. There are many classes we will be taught from these international locations.

How can India successfully cope with dangers arising out of disasters?

India has a really sturdy coverage on catastrophe threat administration, and that is evident from its zero tolerance strategy to casualties in catastrophe occasions and its full embrace of the Sendai Framework. The Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the UN Climate Action Summit in 2019, and supported by UNDRR emphasises the significance of public well being infrastructure.

India doesn’t see the Covid-19 outbreak as merely a well being situation however has taken an all-of-government, all-of-society strategy which could be very a lot within the spirit of the Sendai Framework. The public well being authorities are working intently with our bodies such because the NDMA and authorities ministries liable for civil aviation and delivery and the manufacturing of textiles together with protecting supplies akin to masks.

India can be utilizing cellular expertise in a wise manner that might be adopted by different international locations. Anyone making a cell phone name should hearken to a well being message within the language of their alternative earlier than their name commences. This is an effective way of speaking with a inhabitants of 1.three billion folks.

India can be exhibiting management on the regional degree. I perceive additionally that whereas the variety of instances presently is low, India is stepping up its response and surveillance capability and mapping its assets. At the identical time, it has made donations to a regional response fund and expressed its willingness to assist different nations with their response. This is worldwide solidarity of the very best order and I can solely commend India for its strategy.

Could Europe and the US have dealt with issues higher?

Hindsight is a good trainer. The Covid-19 outbreak is a step into the unknown. Nobody might moderately declare to have been absolutely ready for what’s unfolding now throughout the globe. I wish to name consideration to a crucial commentary in regards to the altering nature of threat, which UNDRR highlighted within the Global Assessment of Risk report printed in May 2019. GAR 2019 could be very clear that threat is more and more systemic. We are seeing this with Covid-19 rattling the worldwide financial system. The solely manner of preventing systemic threat is with a joined-up systemic prevention and response strategy. This implies that we can not work in silos, we should map and mannequin how threat cascades into different dangers, and importantly we should have the ability to work trans-boundary, in a unified trend and never take nationalistic stances to dangers – which, as we very effectively know, aren’t any respecters of borders.

Many international locations have curtailed financial actions. How ought to governments mitigate the affect?

Poverty eradication is the No 1 sustainable improvement aim. In this present disaster it is necessary that provision is made for many who are particularly weak. This can take many varieties together with money funds, emergency shelter and meals distribution programmes. The most vital factor is that the poor be consulted about their wants and be included within the response planning course of.

DISCLAIMER : Views expressed above are the writer’s personal.

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